Claims statement not aimed at Finance Ministry, blames media for playing it up

A day after Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal caused embarrassment to the UPA government by stating that many government departments sucked blood like mosquitoes from the business community and even wearing a black badge in protest, he clarified on Monday that his remarks were not aimed at the Finance Ministry.

Mr. Jaiswal, while speaking at an event organised in Kanpur by agitating jewellers on Sunday, slammed the decision of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to impose duty on sale of jewellery and even wore a black badge to protest against the move. He expressed solidarity with the agitating jewellers.

“For only Rs. 100 crore [worth of] revenue, I realise how much you will have to go through. Like mosquitoes in the night, in our country there are some departments that also suck blood,” he remarked, supporting the demand of the bullion traders for a rollback of the budget proposal.

“The government should devise another way to collect Rs. 100 crore revenue, we [businessmen] will pay that,” he had reportedly stated. Mr. Jaiswal's remarks had caused great embarrassment to the Manmohan Singh government that is already feeling the heat of various scams and Cabinet Ministers pulling in different directions.

However, on Monday, Mr. Jaiswal changed his stance and blamed the media for the controversy over his statement on the excise duty hike on jewellery.

He said his statement on sucking blood was in connection with many government departments and not the Finance Ministry.

“Some channels have shown that I have made some comments on the Finance Ministry. It is unfortunate that channels don't show the correct picture,” he said outside Parliament.

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